Robbie Williams celebrates XXV with Brit Row
Wednesday, 7 December 2022
robbie-williamsRobbie Williams will continue his XXV tour across Europe in 2023 (photo: Simon Niblett)
UK - Robbie Williams’ 22/23 tour is in support of his latest album, XXV, which sees 25 years of hits re-worked and orchestrated by the Metropole Orkest.
Brit Row were once again able to deliver consistent quality across equipment and crew for the British pop star. “Brit Row are absolutely fantastic,” FOH engineer Joe Harling, enthuses. “These are difficult times, but we’ve received everything we’ve asked for and a team of professional crew at the top of their game. I couldn’t be happier.”
To cover the full spectrum of the show's journey through the last two and a half decades, Harling needed a versatile and robust console from Brit Row’s extensive inventory.
“I’m using a DiGiCo Quantum 7 console, which is on an Optocore loop with the monitor console, also a Quantum 7, and all our stage infrastructure. With so much going on and with having to accommodate shows augmented with live orchestras, it’s really the only console that can handle it all.”
Harling is a long-time DiGiCo user, comfortable with its feature set and sound. “I don’t use plugins,” he says. “But I do have a fairly large rack of analogue outboard gear on a second Optocore loop at FOH. This includes units from Kush Audio, Empirical Labs, Rupert Neve Designs, API, Bricasti, OTO Machines and more.”
Given that the XXV tour is the first Williams has delivered to his eager fans in some years, the audio crew were tasked with delivering an emotionally impactful, celebratory, and often heartfelt sonic experience, with real depth, dynamic, and superb clarity.
“It is a fun gig to mix,” Harling continues. “There’s a lot going on in terms of instrumentation and arrangements, plus a wide variety of material from Robbie’s career. I don’t think I’ve mixed a show before that has such a strong narrative arc; it’s quite a journey for the audience.
“Robbie is a fantastic performer, he spends most of the gig out in front of the PA, which can be problematic with some singers but he’s a total pro and there hasn't been any issues at all.”
Harling’s PA of choice is an L-Acoustics K1 rig for main and side hangs, K2 and K3 for delays and KS28s on subwoofers duty (flown and floor arranged), plus a mixture of smaller L-Acoustics point-source boxes for front-fill. He furthers: “It’s a fairly loud show, but we work hard to distribute the audio in a democratic way, so that it’s not overly loud in any of the audience areas.”
Williams’ microphone package was also provided by Brit Row, and after testing the Shure SM58, both Harling and Monitor Engineer, Daniel Kent, felt it was the best fit for this outing. There’s also a smattering of Shure, DPA, Telefunken and MyLab microphones on stage.
With 11 band members, six dancers and seven audio and backline crew to contend with, Kent has his hands full across his channel count. “We have about 160 inputs and about 100 outputs, but we've managed to keep things fairly small thanks to the Optocore DD32R-FX network units - which I didn't even know existed until Brit Row recommended them to me!”
“There is a little complexity to being the RF Engineer on this tour,” adds Lucy Mackinnon. “We have decided to completely change brands and have now moved to 24 channels of Wisycom in-ears and around 30 channels of Shure Axient Mics/Beltpacks totalling around 50 channels to coordinate.”
Due to the large video design, Mackinnon has to consider antenna positions carefully and experiment a lot with antenna gain and filtering. “The Wisycom has been almost faultless in terms of RF and is an extremely strong system that I am thrilled to have moved on to. The band have only had good comments about the sound of these new packs.”

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